RAPTURING FAITH, PERSEVERES TO THE END
Acts 1:10 – 11 “And while they looked steadfastly towards heaven as He went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven shall come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
1st Thess. 4:16 – 17“For the Lord (Jesus) Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice the archangel, and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the cloud to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
These are comforting words for the Bride Elect. But the Bride must make herself ready. One of the qualifications is to have the rapturing faith which perseveres to the end; the kind of faith that sees and believes only the promises of God, in God’s Word. This is the faith that propels the Bride to be steadfastly minded to hold fast and let no man take thy crown.
Scroll 37 paragraph 3, last 3 lines: the Prophet wrote and I quote “Hold fast and let no man take thy crown, if ye shall believe the Word of the Lord in this message, thou shall have no fear. For the Angel of God is beside you to watch over you until I return, saith the Lord.” (Scroll here refers to the writings of Neal V. Frisby)
There are many examples of the God kind of faith in the Bible. We will do well to remember the woman of Canaan whose daughter was grievously vexed with a devil (Matt. 15. 21 – 28). She cried unto the Lord saying have mercy on me. But the Lord answered her not a word. And the disciples came and besought the Lord to send her away for she was crying after them. Finally the Lord turned to the woman and said I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The woman refused to be discouraged. She came and worshipped the Lord insisting that the Lord should help her. The Lord again reminded this woman that it was not meet to take the children’s bread and to cast it to dogs. And the woman said “Truth Lord, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master’s tables.” The Lord Jesus answered and said unto her “O woman, great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”
There are two more examples I will want to exhort us with and these are found in the Book of Ruth Chapter 1 and 2nd Kings Chapter 2.
In Ruth 1, it states that in the days when the Judges ruled, there was famine in the land. And a certain man, Elimelech of Benjamin-Judah, took his wife Naomi and his two sons, Mahlon and Chilion and came to the country of Moab. That was not in line with God’s purpose. The Bible says, “ there is a way that seemeth right unto a man but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov.16.25). Elimelech, Naomi’s husband died. Then the two sons took them wives of the women of Moab. The name of one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. The Bible recorded, Mahlon and Chilion also died. Then Naomi arose with her two daughters-in-law to return from the land of Moab to Bethlehem-Judah because she had heard in the country of Moab where they fled to for security that the Lord had visited His people in giving them bread. Wha-o! The Lord will never forsake His own people. The Bible says in Psalm 30. 5 “For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
Naomi told her two daughters-in-law to return to their mothers’ homes and thanked them for the kindness they have shown to her. Both Ruth and Orpah said they would return with Naomi to Bethlehem-Judah. But with further persuasion, Orpah kissed Naomi and went back but Ruth clave unto her. No amount of persuasion will make Ruth depart from following Naomi to return to Bethlehem-Judah!
In verse 18, when Naomi saw that Ruth was steadfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her. So the two of them returned to Bethlehem-Judah in the time of barley harvest. And Naomi had a kinsman named Boaz, a mighty man of wealth and Ruth requested to go and reap in the field that belonged to Boaz. When Boaz saw Ruth, she found grace in his sight and he said unto her (Ruth 2.11 –12), “It hath fully been shown me, all that thou has done unto thy mother-in-law since the death of thine husband; and how thou has left thy father and thy mother and the land of thy nativity and art come unto a people which thou knowest not; The Lord recompense thy work (faith) and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel under whose wings thou art come to trust.” She further obtained favour from Boaz who purchased her to be his wife (Christ purchased us to be His Bride). He is our Kinsman Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; Ruth begat Obed, and Obed begat Jesse and Jesse begat David. And Christ is the Root and Offspring of David. So these are all that God rewarded Ruth with; for her steadfastly minding to follow the way of the Lord unto the end while Orpah kissed her mother-in-law and went back to her people and her gods.
The second example is in 2nd kings 2. And when the Lord would take up Elijah unto heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. They both started their journey from Gilgal going to Bethel. And Elijah said unto Elisha tarry ye here for the Lord has sent me to Bethel. Elisha said, As the Lord liveth and as thy soul liveth, I will not live thee. So they both went to Bethel. When they arrived in Bethel, Elijah again requested Elisha to tarry in Bethel for the Lord has sent him to Jericho and Elisha gave the same response. So they both went to Jericho. Again Elijah said to Elisha that he should tarry in Jericho because the Lord has sent him to Jordan. Elisha repeated the same thing that as the Lord liveth and thy soul liveth, I will not live thee. So they two went to Jordan. And it came to pass when they were both gone over Jordan, that Elijah said unto Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for thee before I be taken from thee.” And Elisha said, I pray thee let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And Elijah told him he had asked a hard thing but nevertheless if you see me when I be taken away from you, it shall be so. But because Elisha stayed with God’s anointed Prophet, Elijah, he got what he requested for including the mantle of Elijah that fell from him.
Ist Corinthians 10:11 reads, “Now all these things happened unto them for examples; and they are written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come.” The question we need to ask ourselves is, what if Elisha did not persevere and determined to follow Elijah to the point where he saw him when he was taken to heaven by the whirlwind? He would not have gotten the double portion of Elijah’s spirit and the mantle that fell from Elijah. Also Ruth went all the way and was steadfastly minded to return with Naomi to Bethlehem-Judah. She forsook her people, their gods and the land of her nativity and embraced the Lord God of Israel and trusted under His wings. She became the Bride of the Kinsman Redeemer!
Heb.3:14 “For we are made partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.”